PracticeAccounting FirmsUnions target Big Four over PFI deals

Unions target Big Four over PFI deals

Trade unions have weighed into the onslaught against the Big Four accountancy firms, demanding an investigation into their conflicting roles in public finance initiative projects.

Link: Boateng defends use of PFI contracts

Next week’s Trades Union Congress conference will debate a motion urging its ruling body to investigate the firms’ conflicting role through advising both public authorities and private companies.

The firms are currently facing the threat of an Office of Fair Trading investigation following the collapse of Andersen.

The call for an investigation, proposed by Unison, has the backing of public sector union GMB, which last month picketed the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers in a dispute over wage cuts.

Public sector unions have been fighting an ongoing battle with the government over the privatisation of public services – earlier this year they attempted to expose Andersen’s close links to the government and the Labour party, arguing the firm had benefited by advising on PFI projects and other PPP work, though the lion’s share had gone to PwC, and Ernst & Young.

A spokesperson for the GMB said: ‘PFI schemes are done in secrecy under the veil of business sensitivity but the public has a right to know how their tax-paying pounds are lining the pockets of these firms.’

‘The public want this money to go directly into the public services to improve them and retain quality staff,’ she added.

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